Left on Read

As an adult I’ve found it difficult to make friends and keep friendships afloat. I try my best but it doesn’t seem to be enough sometimes.

During this quarantine period I’ve made two online friends through anime Facebook groups. Both of them have been great to talk to, I’ve really appreciated having them to talk to.

The one person, her and I spoke today so we are fine, but the other I’m not sure what happened.

Her and I would chat multiple times a week about anime and read each other’s fan fiction. (Please don’t judge me for writing fan fiction, I’ve already judged myself enough for it. It’s a new hobby.) We got along really well! I enjoyed hearing from her and the conversations we had. I felt like we were actual friends.

Late last week I wrote to her asking if she had any time to proofread my story. I didn’t hear a reply that whole day so I looked back to the message to find out if she saw it.

Read

Being left on read I thought maybe she is busy, she will reply later.

She didn’t.

A couple days later I sent her my story because she had previously said she was ok with reading my work. I saw her post something to our group but I heard nothing from her so I checked the chat.

Read

She has continued to post on her Facebook and the group we are a part of so it makes me wonder what the hell I did. Our conversations had been normal, we didn’t have any drama between each other.

I feel stupid for a plethora of reasons, from letting somebody who I don’t really know get to me and asking myself why anybody would want to be my friend in the first place.

This isn’t the first time this has happened in my life.

In high school, a good friend of mine who went to a different school did the same thing to me. I would call her, text her and even wrote her a letter with no response. I still don’t know why she distanced herself from me, I probably will never know.

Why is this a pattern in my life?
Is it me?
Is it them?

During all of this I was happily reminded of the longterm friends I’ve had since university. I went to a Zoom birthday party for my friend and got to see a few other friends which was so nice! It made me feel really good to be remembered and invited.

I’ve found a lot of value in the friends I’ve had for years. Even though we live in different places and haven’t seen each other in years, I know that they are still there for me.

Have you been left on read? Have you had friendships dropped for reasons you don’t understand?

Distracting Depression

When our brains get so focused on one negative thing, it can be really hard to stop letting those thoughts spiral you into a pit of despair.

For me, my brain has a few cassette tapes that it plays on repeat for me when I’m really feeling depressed or anxious. Some of my mental illness’s favorite are “Nobody Loves You: An Unromantic Song for the Lonely,” “Megan’s a Failure (She Can’t Do Anything Right)” and “Let’s Lay in Bed Forever, Nobody would Miss Me.”

I have had some really negative thoughts spinning in my mind for the past few months but I found out that they were not true. Which is somehow always surprising to me when my anxious thoughts are false. Anybody else feel the same?

Lately I have been dealing with the repercussions of my action regarding that situation and I’m feeling totally awful about it. I let my anxious thoughts cloud my reality. I have been letting my fear of change get to me too.

Sometimes I have to disconnect my mind and focus on something else. I have to distract my depression and anxiety to make it be quiet.

What I often do as a distraction is to do something that I can be completely immersed in. Whether it’s studying Japanese (日本語を勉強する), watching one of my favorite movies (“Mulan” always helps), exercising or petting my cats; it makes a difference most of the time.

The reason I began studying Japanese was to distract myself from suicidal thoughts in 2018. It’s similar to why I became obsessed with makeup in 2016 to distract myself from even more severe suicidal thoughts.

I knew Japanese would take full brain power and determination to learn. I had to learn two alphabets plus be able to at least recognize basic kanji (they’re the more complex looking symbols). Studying the alphabets was the easy part too! On top of that all of the grammar and vocabulary makes it quite challenging.

Being able to practice on Duolingo, do lessons on YouTube and watch subtitled anime to hear how Japanese is spoken naturally makes me happy.

I have always enjoyed learning languages even though I’m not fluent in anything but English. I took Spanish and French in high school then German in college. I found German to be quite difficult since it was my first non-romantic language that I studied and I didn’t feel like I had enough time to devote to really understanding it.

How do you distract your mind from depression/mania/anxious thoughts/OCD tendencies? Please leave me a comment!

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The Pressure to Succeed

As the first day of the year comes to a close, I image myself on the edge of a cliff that is up high in the sky. I am able to look out at the setting sun, see birds soar through the air and clouds billow alongside them.

Beyond that, it is all uncertainty.

All of my usual worries are spinning around in my mind. The main one is a question I’ve asked myself forever: am I enough?

I’m 25 so I’m classified as a member of the motley group of millennial assholes.

For a while I’ve been feeling this millennial pressure to always be working. Maybe it’s the Instagram accounts I follow or what I see from my Facebook friends, but I feel like there is this idea that we have to always be working in order to succeed.

That if you are not making a stride towards making money or achieving your goals, you’re wasting your time. That you are lazy, unmotivated and worthless.

I worry that I am falling behind because I am “not enough.” That I would be some sort of success if I stopped letting myself rest.

For a long time I did not take enough time to rest. It really weighed on my mental health which is why I have started to relax after work and make time for fun on weekends.

But then my anxiety makes me feel guilty about it.

It says, “Megan, you would be so much more successful if you were working harder. You would be making more money if you got another writing gig. Instead you go home to watch anime and YouTube. What a waste of time!”

Something a former friend of mine said to me rings in my mind. She rattled off all of these other mutual friends who she found to be successful. I was not on her exclusive list which still makes me feel like a failure after many months.

I wonder again and again, is she right? Am I a failure because of the choices I have made? Have I already sealed my fate as someone who will never accomplish anything?

I plan to discuss this all with my therapist on Friday. We have had this conversation many times but I think it’s time to have it again.

I’m not sure if it’s the “new year, new me” mentality but it’s got me quite anxious.

Wishing all of you a wonderful 2019! May we all continue to surmount our problems and make peace within our minds.

My Weekly Wrap-up of the Bipolar Writer Blog

It has been a couple of weeks since writing a wrap up. With the added volume of contributor writers on my blog is it imperative to do these weekly wrap-ups. This is place to go for all the amazing posts that you can find on The Bipolar Writer Blog. These wrap-ups end my week and at the same time gives my readers a place to look back. So here we go.

What Helps Relieve Anxiety

I really enjoyed writing this blog post about the anxiety relief since I am still working on the major issues related to my social anxiety. In this post I explain what has worked for me. I am still a work in progress but these tips are quite useful.

An American’s Obsession with Korean Pop

This is a repost of one of my favorites since starting my blog. I have a real obsession with Korean Pop, so much so that I am learning to speak the language.

What is Bipolar Disorder to me?

I wrote this piece at the request of a blogger who didn’t understand what Bipolar Disorder is and what it actually means. I give my best description that I can in this blog post.

The Bipolar Writer Hasn’t been at his Best

Sometimes James Edgar Skye and The Bipolar Writer isn’t always at his best. Here I explain what that means for me. It’s a great personal post that might make its way as a chapter in my memoir.

Teaching While Bipolar

This is a great blog post from one my talented contributor writers— Perpetually Eliza. It talks about the ups and downs of teaching while Bipolar. It is an amazing piece and you should read it if you are going into the field to teaching with a mental illness.

Total Exhaustion

This blog post was written my another talented contributor writer— Tabbi. In the piece the author talks about the exhausting of living with a mental illness and having other issues. It’s a good read.

How Does Depression Affect Your Relationships

This blog post was written by another talented contributor writer— 🌸Jia Khan🌸. It explains the realities of how depression can affect your relationships. Posts such as these are really important because at some level we all want companionship to get through the tough times.

You Are Amazing

The subject matter speaks for itself in this amazing blog post by my contributor writer— Girlyshellebelle7. If you’re looking for an upbeat post when you are feeling down, look no further that the post from this talented writer.

What’s Wrong?

What’s wrong is was written by Chelsea Owens. In the post the author explores the list of favorite questions that are asked of her. It’s a great read and one that is relatable.

Are There Different Levels of Depression?

I wrote this blog post as a request from a fellow blogger for me to define if there are different levels of depression. It is a great read because I share my experiences and some of my fellow bloggers shared their own with the types of depression that I have not lived through. It is a great read if you’re looking for the levels of depression.

I don’t make promises

This post was another good one from one of my contributor writers— Blogpostsfromthedge. It talks about the realities of mental illness and not making promises. It is a great read because there is always a level of uncertainty for those of us dealing with a mental illness.

The Bipolar Writer Needs a Logo

The Mutations of Mental Health

In this blog post author CM North talks about his own journey and how there is not a cure of mental illness and how he will always identify with having a mental illness. In this post the author gives his personal thoughts about the subject.

What it’s Like to Have a Panic Attack While Driving – A Poem

I wrote this poem just this past week in the throes of one of the worst panic attacks of my life. It was bad, and I think I really captured what was going on at this time. It is a unique perspective that those who have lived through it can understand.

Tough Love

This was one of the most emotionally driven posts to ever make its way onto the Bipolar Writer under the author Catherinerunningriley. It is a really good read and I think everyone who is dealing with a mental illness should read this post.

Eve’s Interview Feature

This is another edition of my ongoing series about sharing the stories of the mental illness community. What I loved writing about Eve’s feature is that it was one of recovery and positivity despite her struggles with her illness and alcoholism. It is an amazing story.

Being Doubly Shamed in Psychosis

This was written by another of my contributor writers— Orangewallsblog. I thought got this piece a quote from the blog post would serve it well.

“There’s something strange that occurs in highly stigmatized identities: the shame of being that identity and the shame of wanting to be identified as that identity. As someone with a degree of sustained insight, it was difficult to explain how my life was being run by a bunch of lies.”

My Bad Week

It is always my goal of The Bipolar Writer to share the different sides of my mental illness. In My Bad Week I talk about how things can change so quickly after I had one of my best months in January 2018. So I wrote this honest post about my bad week.

Positivity

This another great blog post about Positivity from contributor blogger Girlyshellebelle7. It really is a great that on The Bipolar Writer we can get varying levels of posts from amazing authors. “Positivity” is another great read.

When to Ask For Help: Ideation vs Action

A great post about asking for help when you are suicidal by author Alan Wolfgang. The author really goes into detail on what you can do when you are suicidal. It is great read from one of my contributor bloggers.

That is it for this week. It has been a busy one for The Bipolar Writer and I am looking forward to what my contributor writers and what I bring in the coming week.

Always Keep Fighting

James Edgar Skye

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoClint McKoy

My Weekly Wrap-Up 12/11 – 12/16

These weekly wrap-ups are always good for me because it marks the end of one week of The Bipolar Writer blog and the start of another. I spend so much of my week organizing what I will write that it is important to look back, and see how my journey unfolded. So, with that, here is this week’s weekly wrap-up.

One of the biggest things of this week is that I started to receive the responses from the first group of feature article participants. I have completed one feature which goes live in the coming week, and I am about half way through another. For those who haven’t received questions just know you are on the list and will receive them in the next group. I am in the final week of my current semester, and super busy, but in my winter break, I will be writing full-time on the features for my blog and my memoir.

So here is what I talked about on blogs this week.

Changes

In “Changes” I talked about finally finding balance with my medication and specifically my Ativan and Seroquel. It took finally getting through to my psychiatrist that changes needed to be made. This post really reflects just how bad my anxiety particularly at night had really made life hard, but a change in medication helped stabilize my life in a positive direction.

A Look at Japanese Anime in American Culture

This blog post was a feature article I wrote in a journalism class earlier this year, and I wanted to post it now to showcase my feature writing experience. If you have followed my blog for a while you know my obsession with Korean culture, but I have have been equally obsessed with Japanese culture and anime since I was a kid. This article is a small glimpse of a major influence in my life.

When Life Throws you a Curveball

Not every day is good in the life of someone who is Bipolar. It goes without saying that even with the good days, there will be days where everything goes wrong. In this blog post, I talk about a single day and how everything that could go wrong, did. I did learn that though these days happen, there is always tomorrow.

Things Better Left Unsaid

I have always strived to be honest here on The Bipolar Writer blog, and that will never change. In “Things Better Left Unsaid” I talk about how, as open as I have been on this blog, there are still things in my past that I have trouble discussing. Eventually, one thing in my past may make it here on my blog, but I decided on this blog post to at least dedicate a single chapter in my memoir so I can sort through this particular topic. It will take time, but for now, I will always be truthful in what I do write about here on my blog,

Music That Changes my Mood Part 1

This is the beginning of a series that will make its way to my blog over the next few months. I have a playlist on my iTunes with the specific purpose of songs that change my mood when I am depressed. So, I decided to share these songs and what they mean to me. Music has always been a major part of how I get along every day. In my life three things are always certain, music, writing, and coffee.

My Social Anxiety Life Part Seven

I can’t believe I have already written seven parts in this series. “My Social Anxiety Life” was the first series I ever decided to write on this blog. In this blog post, I talk about the future of what my plans are for dealing with my social anxiety. One of my New Years resolutions is to finally once and for all find balance in my social anxiety. I have major travel plans in 2018 and I know there is a lot of work ahead of me to conquer some of the triggers of my social anxiety.

Origins of my Pseudonym

This small post just breaks down my pseudonym James Edgar Skye. It gives insight and the thought process of choosing my pen name.

When did I Get my Depression Under Control?

It was a surprise when I looked back on the last couple of weeks in my log that tracks my depression and anxiety every day on a scale from 1-10, that a trend was happening. It is a very basic scale, but it gives me a chance to rate where I am at every day. I discovered that since the beginning of November (when I peaked at a 9 in the first week of the month) I have seen a steady incline in my depression, a rare feat during the winter time. Looking at logs from last year at this time I was at an 8-9 level every day. It’s nice to see myself at 3-5 most days, which means I manage my depression better.

What a week. I am always amazed that, despite the fact that everything seems impossible every Monday, that things end up working out. I blogged almost every day, my school work is up to date, I’m excelling in my classes, and I worked on my memoir. Right now I am all for moving forward.

Always Keep Fighting

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoAli Yahya

A Look at Japanese Anime in American Culture

I am starting to move into writing feature interview articles for my blog about different bloggers I have met on The Bipolar Writer blog. To show I have written plenty of features I wanted to post this piece I wrote in June for journalism class that focused on feature writing. Those of you who have followed my blog know that I am into Asian culture across the board (but few know I am actually part Japanese and Filipino.)

This was a fun piece to write and it explains more about who I am not only as a human being but a writer. Watching Amine was always a way I dealt with depression and anxiety as a teen and adult.

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Suspended in the air, the hero Goku faces his nemesis Majin Buu. Goku transforms first to a Super Saiyan, his hair going from spikey black to spikey gold, an angelic aura around him. Powering up, Goku transforms to his Super Saiyan 2 form. Poised, Goku’s next transformation takes longer shaking the Earth. Goku emerges as a Super Saiyan 3, ready for battle.

This scene is from the popular Japanese Anime cartoon created by Akira Toriyama entitled Dragon Ball Z. The entire series, with the journey of its main protagonist Goku, his son Gohan and friends, spanned 291 episodes and 17 movies. Dragon Ball Z was first released in Japan in the 80’s and became a popular among youth in the United States in the 1990’s.

For a kid like me with a flood of wishes to watch Japanese anime in the 1990’s, I had to purchase it on VHS. It was an expensive venture. As a collector, I would purchase all the tapes in a set, and would be rewarded with a picture when the covers sat end to end. Stores like Sam Goody, a popular store in the 90’s, were the only places to complete collections and every penny of my teenage job as a janitor went to my obsession.

Dragon-Ball-Z-VHS-Collection-vhs-35926117-500-375

Japanese anime extends beyond tapes to include video games and books—called manga. The history of Japanese anime and its rise in Japan can be traced according to Otmazgin (2014) to 1917, “The first animated work to be shown in a movie theatre was (Mukuzo Imokawa, The Doorman), which was released in 1917.” In Japan, anime became mainstream in the 1980’s, and with a recession, Japanese companies took aim at American children in the 1990’s.

Japanese anime in American culture became popular with the release of the first Pokémon video game in the 1990’s. Popular in Japan, the American Pokémon enthusiast had two choices for their Game Boy, Pokémon red and blue. A truly innovative game for its time, Pokémon was marketed simply, “gotta catch ’em all.” The task for the collector was collecting all one hundred and fifty-one Pokémon.

This was no easy task. As a kid, I would spend countless hours roaming the Pokémon world collecting. Rare Pokémon was traded among friends using a link cable. The rarest Pokémon like Mewtwo could only be captured with a master ball, while others like Mew were only available at Pokémon events. I eventually captured all 151 original Pokemon on my GameBoy versions blue, red, gold, and silver.

In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s Japanese Anime had some major success. Otmazgin (2014) had this to say, “Japanese animation in the US in 2002, including the sales of licensed goods, was worth US$4.36 billion, accounting for 3.5 percent of total exports from Japan to the United States.”

But, the internet would change Japanese Anime forever.

With the rise in the internet in the 2000’s, the access to Japanese anime rose to prominence in America. The industry also saw a decline in sales. A saturation of the market by the number of Japanese anime produced and distributed, coupled with illegal downloading, became factors in the downward trend in sales. Still, the ease of access gave way to new fans to anime and the increase in popularity of the new anime shows.

What makes anime so popular? Japanese anime is rooted deep in story and it often makes the watcher, gamer, or even reader immersed in a different culture, not of their own. At a deeper level, the anime world connects people, who at times may feel outside of society, by a love for what the stories of Japanese animation bring.

To meet the demands, Japanese anime creators sought to adjust content to an American audience. The most ardent anime fans watched their favorite shows in Japanese, with English subtitles. But, as audiences became larger the anime shows adjusted for all audiences and dubbed their episodes in English.

Today, with an ease of access to platforms like YouTube on cell phones and tablets, Japanese anime has become a phenomenon that crosses all generations. Teens and adults can connect with one another with shows both new and past. Dragon Ball Z fans can connect on the same level of as Attack on Titan fan because at its base level Japanese Anime is a part of American society. Japanese anime has gone so mainstream that anime shows have even made their way to mainstream American theaters. For the first time as an adult I was able to watch a Dragonball Z movie on the big screen, something I never thought possible.

It is clear, Japanese anime is here to stay.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoAndre Benz

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